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Time Travel, Impossible Again!

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A general explanation for the failure of induction is that it requires complete knowledge of the entire universe. To add time to that requirement is foolish. Not only must one have observed all existing swans, one must also have examined all swans that have been and that will be.

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Right, that is what I was implying, but apparently was not making clear. Or at least he first paragraph was. Except that the second paragraph really degenerates into useless metaphors around the mid

It may seem trivial to say that we travel through time just as time passes, but it's not quite as simple as that, as the twin paradox shows. The twin who returns after a journey through space with hig

Well, that is all fine and dandy, but I dont think anyone should need *physics* to tell them that time travel is impossible , or at least not more than the most basic physics combined with metaphysics

A general explanation for the failure of induction is that it requires complete knowledge of the entire universe. To add time to that requirement is foolish. Not only must one have observed all existing swans, one must also have examined all swans that have been and that will be.

How could one come to knowledge of the "law of causality" if the failure of induction requires complete knowledge of the entire universe? We have not examined "every action to ensure that an entity produced it", past, present and/or future.

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What I was questioning was the claims that one could deduce the impossibility of any form of time travel (into the past, of course) from the armchair.

What is time? Well lets see :

Time is a measurement of motion; as such, it is a type of relationship. Time applies only within the universe, when you define a standard—such as the motion of the earth around the sun. If you take that as a unit, you can say: “This person has a certain relationship to that motion; he has existed for three revolutions; he is three years old.” But when you get to the universe as a whole, obviously no standard is applicable. You cannot get outside the universe. The universe is eternal in the literal sense: non-temporal, out of time"
- .Leonard Peikoff, “ The Philosophy of Objectivism

Time is not some sort of river, it is not a place, one cannot travel "through" it , anymore than one can travel through calculus or physics. Time is purely a relational concept used to relate motions and hence the concept of "travel" is not applicable to it. Physicists can claim that it is a dimension all that they wish, but that claim is nonsensical and has little bearing on reality . Sure, the math works, but despite what is asserted, it does not mean that time is a dimension or such. That is how one can deduce the impossibility of time travel

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I am not sure what you are trying to say here. Yeah, obviously both are also relational concepts, but which interference fails as a result?

The inference that one cannot travel through a relationship because relationships are not the kind of thing one can travel through. Counter example: distance.

Even the law of non-contradiction formulated by Aristotle incorporates time, so it is hard to avoid circularity when attempting to deduce anything about time by relying on non-contradiction.

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Sorry but the claim that it is merely a "type of relationship" settles zilch. Relationships can be changed and LP word-chopping alone doesn't show why the relationship known as duration cannot be changed in ways we aren't used to.

Incorrect, as the point is that it is nonsensical to talk about "relational concept travel" ( at least in regards to this particular example) makes no sense. The point is that 'time travel" is a nonsensical expression with no referents or real meaning. "Time travel" has little to do with "duration" really. We are not talking about "changing' relationships per se (though time travel stories often involve this as plot element..heh), but some nonsense about confusing "time" with some sort of thing which can be navigated.

The inference that one cannot travel through a relationship because relationships are not the kind of thing one can travel through. Counter example: distance.

Even the law of non-contradiction formulated by Aristotle incorporates time, so it is hard to avoid circularity when attempting to deduce anything about time by relying on non-contradiction.

Yeah, I admit I worded this badly. But I think my point remains the same. You cannot through distance, you can "travel a distance" , but what you are doing is moving from A to B. Of course, debating counter-examples and wording still does not change the point.

Edited by Prometheus98876
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Time is implicit in the Law of non-contradiction because it's a requirement of consciousness not a metaphysical necessity. Those time measurements are "physchological" and have to do with relating existence to oneself(the continuum that is man's consciousness)

I am not even sure what exactly this means....care to rephrase this?

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I am not even sure what exactly this means....care to rephrase this?

It was response to the comment about circularity and time. Just as consciousness is implicit in all of our conceptions and yet we are able to realize that existence exists apart from any consciousness, time doesn't exist apart from consciousness. It is a method of relating existence to ones self.

Axiomatic concepts are the constants of man's consciousness, the cognitive integrators that identify and thus protect its continuity. They identify explicitly the omission of psychological <ioe2_57> time measurements, which is implicit in all other concepts.

It must be remembered that conceptual awareness is the only type of awareness capable of integrating past, present and future. Sensations are merely an awareness of the present and cannot be retained beyond the immediate moment; percepts are retained and, through automatic memory, provide a certain rudimentary link to the past, but cannot project the future. It is only conceptual awareness that can grasp and hold the total of its experience—extrospectively, the continuity of existence; introspectively, the continuity of consciousness—and thus enable its possessor to project his course long-range. It is by means of axiomatic concepts that man grasps and holds this continuity, bringing it into his conscious awareness and knowledge. It is axiomatic concepts that identify the precondition of knowledge: the distinction between existence and consciousness, between reality and the awareness of reality, between the object and the subject of cognition. Axiomatic concepts are the foundation of objectivity.

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Yeah, I admit I worded this badly. But I think my point remains the same. You cannot through distance, you can "travel a distance" , but what you are doing is moving from A to B. Of course, debating counter-examples and wording still does not change the point.

I think your argument was weak, though. You said "one cannot travel "through" it , anymore than one can travel through calculus or physics." In that sense of travel, no, you can't travel through those because they are abstract; you can only go through physical entities. Time is not a physical entity, therefore you can't go through it. Distance is not a physical entity, therefore, you can't go through it. A window is a physical entity, therefore you can go through it. I know you don't mean that, but your comparison is far too narrow.

As long as there is some sense of space, you can travel through something. Distance involves a space, so you can travel to different points in a particular space. If time is a space, then it can be traveled through. If it's not a space, then it can't be. Relational is not really an essential I find. Time is a kind of space to the extent there is a "now" and "later", a point A and point B. You can sensibly say you travel into the future all the time, it only sounds silly because that's not what people usually mean by time travel. With time, it doesn't make sense to go backwards, because that previous state no longer exists due to causality. Causality can't go backwards.

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You cannot just disprove the possibility of time travel by some kind of linguistic analysis. The word "travel" is used here in a metaphorical sense, just as we use it when we say that we travel through our memory, through a program etc. Similar for the word "road" which doesn't always have to mean a physical path. Therefore the argument is worthless. You should address the claim itself, how it is defined, not the words we happen use to express this notion.

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You cannot just disprove the possibility of time travel by some kind of linguistic analysis. The word "travel" is used here in a metaphorical sense, just as we use it when we say that we travel through our memory, through a program etc. Similar for the word "road" which doesn't always have to mean a physical path. Therefore the argument is worthless. You should address the claim itself, how it is defined, not the words we happen use to express this notion.

Either "travel" is used here to ask if one can literally go back into the past or it isn't . Either the present is all that exist metaphysically or it isn't. Either " time travel" is one of the things which time has the identity to do or it doesn't. I don't see your point. Unless you are positing that what is meant is some kind of spiritual journey.

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I think your argument was weak, though. You said "one cannot travel "through" it , anymore than one can travel through calculus or physics." In that sense of travel, no, you can't travel through those because they are abstract; you can only go through physical entities. Time is not a physical entity, therefore you can't go through it. Distance is not a physical entity, therefore, you can't go through it. A window is a physical entity, therefore you can go through it. I know you don't mean that, but your comparison is far too narrow.

As long as there is some sense of space, you can travel through something. Distance involves a space, so you can travel to different points in a particular space. If time is a space, then it can be traveled through. If it's not a space, then it can't be. Relational is not really an essential I find. Time is a kind of space to the extent there is a "now" and "later", a point A and point B. You can sensibly say you travel into the future all the time, it only sounds silly because that's not what people usually mean by time travel. With time, it doesn't make sense to go backwards, because that previous state no longer exists due to causality. Causality can't go backwards.

Right, that is what I was implying, but apparently was not making clear. Or at least he first paragraph was. Except that the second paragraph really degenerates into useless metaphors around the middle.

Time is not a space though, at least now how I am using the concept. You do not "travel" into the future. Future events happen, but that is not the same thing.

"With time, it doesn't make sense to go backwards, because that previous state no longer exists due to causality. Causality can't go backwards."

The past and present do not exist physically either. The only referents which time reduces to are events. One can cause/witness events now andin the future, but those in the past are not something one can go back to. It is not because "previous states do not exist" ( not sure if this is even true, unless you mean that the only "states" which exist now are the ones *now*. ) , but because "What is done is done" and cannot go back and relive those events. It is just that simple : The "past" refers to events that have happened and which cannot be changed. Its just that simple. The only way in which one can navigate events in any sense ( and it is not useful to talk about things this way IMO) is witnessing / causing ones now or in the future.

Edited by Prometheus98876
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It may seem trivial to say that we travel through time just as time passes, but it's not quite as simple as that, as the twin paradox shows. The twin who returns after a journey through space with high speed (comparable to the speed of light) will for example find that his brother has aged more than himself or possibly died a hundred/thousand... years ago. In the reference frame of the Earth the twins "travel through time" with different "speeds". From the viewpoint of the twin who remains on Earth, the other twin travels really into the future: he can return on Earth at a time which he would never experience as a living being when he'd stayed at home.

Whether one can travel backwards in time is of course a different question, but that can't be trivially disproved from your armchair. The grandfather paradox can be avoided, so that isn't a definitive argument. Furthermore we (the non-timetravelers) wouldn't detect anything strange - everything would behave normally with the usual causal effects, only the timetraveler himself might experience a change in the history as he knows it. That makes the argument circular: we've never seen that history can change, but we could only see that if we knew how we could travel backwards in time. The fact that we don't know how to do something isn't the same as knowing that it can't be done in principle. An argument is that as far as we know we've never met a time traveler, but neither that is a definite proof. Suppose the possibility of time travel will be discovered in 10000 years. How likely will it be that they will time travel to our period? Who knows what the people (perhaps half or complete robots) at that time want to do or can do? There might be much more interesting periods they will want to visit, or perhaps it turns out to be increasingly more difficult to travel the further you go backwards in time, so that our period is off-limits.

That said, I should state for the record that I think it's very unlikely that traveling backwards in time is possible, as our current knowledge of physics doesn't give any indication in that direction (there are some theoretical possibilities, but these seem to have no practical solution), but the question isn't as trivial as often is suggested.

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Tensorman said:

It may seem trivial to say that we travel through time just as time passes, but it's not quite as simple as that, as the twin paradox shows. The twin who returns after a journey through space with high speed (comparable to the speed of light) will for example find that his brother has aged more than himself or possibly died a hundred/thousand... years ago. In the reference frame of the Earth the twins "travel through time" with different "speeds". From the viewpoint of the twin who remains on Earth, the other twin travels really into the future: he can return on Earth at a time which he would never experience as a living being when he'd stayed at home

Talk about circular. The above assumes the premise that time is what causes age and that movement is through a medium of time.Aside from the fact that this thought experiment is only just that. The same premises underly the interpretation of clocks slowing. The central question here is how does one determine a normative definition of "time". Start with perception!

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Even the law of non-contradiction formulated by Aristotle incorporates time, so it is hard to avoid circularity when attempting to deduce anything about time by relying on non-contradiction.

That's a circular argument right there. You are assuming non-contradiction to deduce that circularity is not valid proof ((at least non-contradiction is the only reason I know of why circularity is a bad thing), and then you are using that result as your premise to show that assuming non-contradiction is wrong.

The thing is, you are assuming Aristotle's law just by attempting to use words with specific meanings (any words, not just circularity, but circularity was a really low hanging fruit to pick on). That's what makes it an axiom (something that must be accepted before speaking of proof or logic, and does not require or have any proof).

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I don't think this conversation is getting to the essentials of the issue: time "travel" is not possible because the past and the future do not exist (i.e. the past no longer exists, and the future does not yet exist).

The reason that I can "travel" across my room is that the front of my room still exists when I'm at the back and vice versa. Conversely, when an hour passes by, everything that was there an hour ago is not sitting there motionless waiting for me to come back to it. It only exists in the form it is in now, not in the form it was in an hour ago. Theoretically, it would be possible to travel in time in a sense, if you managed to revert everything in existence to a state it was in previously, but that's just it: you would have to create the "old" time to be able to travel to it. It's not magically sitting there in stasis in some alternate reality, waiting for time travelers to enter it.

So time travel as popularly construed is impossible because one would have to create in reality the conditions of the time to which one wished to travel. That is, if one wanted to "go back" to the time of the dinosaurs, he would have to somehow recreate the conditions of existence on earth at that time and make new dinosaurs, because the old dinosaurs are completely gone from existence.

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Whether one can travel backwards in time is of course a different question, but that can't be trivially disproved from your armchair.

True, if you treat "Time" as some sort of stolen concept, you will never be able to analyze it logically.

Talk about circular. The above assumes the premise that time is what causes age and that movement is through a medium of time.Aside from the fact that this thought experiment is only just that. The same premises underly the interpretation of clocks slowing. The central question here is how does one determine a normative definition of "time". Start with perception!

Obviously time does not cause again. Biological factors cause aging. It just "happens" that as time "progresses", aging occurs.

I don't think this conversation is getting to the essentials of the issue: time "travel" is not possible because the past and the future do not exist (i.e. the past no longer exists, and the future does not yet exist).

Thats true, but I think I actually did mention that. Ie, that the past and future simply refer to events that have already been and which are not locations one can travel to and from. Though even if you recreate these events, it is nonsensical to refer to it as "time travel" , even in a metaphorical sense.

time dilation continuum

Time does not dilate or contract. I have to make this point at least once a week on average : No matter what physics may tell you , time is not subject to contraction. This does not mean that clocks do not slow down etc, just that even if they do, it is not because time is some sort of dimension ( which seems to refer to some mathematical construct with no physical referents in that case), just that *something* is happening.

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Id put it thus,"Time is a conceptual method of keeping track of our experiences while we age" :)

Yeah, I like that. The concept of time exists to help us "keep track" of stuff / to help us put events in a logical sequential order after all..

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Thats true, but I think I actually did mention that. Ie, that the past and future simply refer to events that have already been and which are not locations one can travel to and from. Though even if you recreate these events, it is nonsensical to refer to it as "time travel" , even in a metaphorical sense.

Right, I was simply trying to emphasize that recreating the past events is the only thing even remotely like "time travel" which can be rationally conceived. You did touch on that a little, but thought it necessary to emphasize that the reason you cannot travel to the past or the future is that they don't exist.

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Right, I was simply trying to emphasize that recreating the past events is the only thing even remotely like "time travel" which can be rationally conceived. You did touch on that a little, but thought it necessary to emphasize that the reason you cannot travel to the past or the future is that they don't exist.

Fair enough, I realize I was not making some of the key points quite as clear as I could have. In any case, I thought your explanation was pretty useful. It might be a minor issue, but as I keep saying , I do think it is useful to refer that to as time travel, even metaphorically. However, given it is clear what you do mean, it is probably a relatively unimportant semantic complaint.

Edited by Prometheus98876
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